13 Tips Before Starting a Job Search

Several  studies and our experience at Career Development Partners show that most people make mistakes – search-prolonging mistakes – in the first three days of their search. These words of caution will help you start your search in the best possible way.

  1. Check with your former employer to find out if they offer career transition services (outplacement) as part of your severance package.

2. Resist the temptation to quickly update your resume and broadcast it out to your network. It is wise to slow down, evaluate, polish and move forward with prudence. When an employer sees a mediocre message from you, they may write you off and not look at any future updates.

3. Your situation was likely the result of business needs or restructuring. Even if it wasn’t, keep your hurt and anger private. Negative talk of your former employer doesn’t reflect well on you and negative thoughts/feelings are never concealed as well as you think.

4. Consider what you learned from your last employment experience. What did you do well? Where did you miss? What can you improve going forward? Even if it was difficult or maybe you were fired, learn from that and do something different in the future.

5. Tell contacts that you are using this time as an opportunity to prepare for the next step in your career. Let people know you appreciate their interest and you will get back to them when you are ready to make use of their time and expertise.

6. Begin working on your resume by updating it. If you don’t have a resume, we have a resume template/guideline on our website at careerdevelopmentpartners.com.

7. List three to five items you are most proud of in your professional work life. Usually, this is expressed with quantifiable results like $’s, #’s and %’s. Focus on the result and outcome of your work for the employer.

8. Start searching the online job boards, our website, classifieds, etc. and note the type of positions of interest to you. Note the wording on skills, tasks, and knowledge so you can use similar wording on your resume. Speak the language of hiring managers!

9. Make a list or spreadsheet of potential contacts such as friends, neighbors, former classmates and professional associates that will be part of your network. 85% of jobs are found through personal contacts. Employers would much rather hire based on a referral than from a cold submission from their website.

10. Be with people!  This is no time to isolate yourself!  Engage in networking and group interaction. Seek out opportunities to meet and connect with people and grow your network which will help you maintain a positive outlook.

11. Candidates are most often successful who are well prepared, have a positive approach and treat their job search like a full-time job and work hard and wisely at it.

12. Volunteer. Not only is this a great way to connect with people working shoulder-to-shoulder but it will make you feel good to know that during this time of transition you can do something good for someone else.

13. Take advantage of every strength and opportunity at your disposal, including and especially Career Development Partners!


You will soon be prepared to present yourself with maximum effectiveness. Until that time:

  • Recognize you may be emotionally volatile.
  • This change might be an opportunity for something better. Please remain open to that possibility.
  • Begin thinking about possible careers and specific companies you may want to research and explore.
  • Many others have been through this transition. You are not alone. You will get through this.

Rick Christensen

Rick Christensen: Director, Career Transition Practice Rick has been a career consultant for over 25 years, serving a very broad-based and diverse clientele. His specialties include effective group facilitation, one-on-one coaching and consultation at all levels including senior executives.

Rick’s passion is coaching individuals through career transitions, developing career management strategies and in identifying and sharpening competencies to open doors to new opportunities. His efforts have assisted thousands of individuals achieve their full potential.

Contact Rick at: Rick@CareerDevelopmentPartners.com

Travis Jones - CEO of Career Development Partners

Written By Rick Christensen

Rick has been a career consultant for over 20 years, serving a very broad-based and diverse clientele. His specialties include effective group facilitation, one-on-one coaching and consultation at all levels including senior executives.

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